New 'smart toy' offers autistic children new ways to learn

While all too often, new gadgets and apps offered to the consumer market present little more than trivial distractions, one new hi-tech toy featured at this year’s CES expo in Las Vegas aims to make a real difference, by helping special needs children overcome their learning disabilities.

Leka, a compact robotic educational companion, has been developed by a French start-up which designed the self-propelled device as a fully-configurable teaching aid, intended to help parents break down the communication barriers faced by autistic children.

Controlled through an application installed on the parents’ smartphones, Leka can be customized to interact with a child according to his or her specific needs, offering up educational games and lessons based on a child’s abilities.

The device, which is expected to hit the market this summer, can even be used as a personal guide for autistic children, helping guide them through daily tasks.